They know they are all one family

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What a super intense month it has been! An image came to me today of the whole earth shaking, as if an inconceivably large force from the cosmos is literally shaking our planet free from the forces of darkness that have gripped it for millennia. We are in the midst of unprecedented shifts on a collective level, and no one is immune from their effects. Are you feeling the intensity, dear Readers?

Here in the United States the most obvious example of shakeup is the presidential impeachment hearings. This week was extremely tense, as the House Judiciary Committee held long, bitter and contentious hearings to present the two articles of impeachment against President Trump. After two days of rancor, they finally voted early on Friday morning along perfect party lines. The vote on both articles was 23 ayes / yes (by all the Democratic members), and 17 no (by all the Republican members). The vote will move to the full House of Representatives next week.

Reflecting on the impeachment process over the course of the past month, a couple of points stand out. One is the degree of seriousness with which lawmakers and aides have treated the procedure, and the sheer amount of hard work that has gone into all the moving parts. It’s been fascinating to watch the spectacle unfold, produced by many people both behind and in front of the cameras and devices. I am struck again and again by the fact that, at its core, our government is made up of ordinary human beings who have chosen the work of governing one of the largest and most unwieldy governments on Earth. Aside from jibes and attacks from certain Republicans who complained repeatedly about the supposed farce of what they called a “waste of time and taxpayer money,” many people, from the House Intelligence Committee, to the Judiciary Committee, to those who read and commented on the news reports, care deeply about American values, its constitution, its democratic ideals, and the Rule of Law. The fight is about the interpretation of those ideals and rules. It’s a good time to be a government lawyer in Washington D.C. these days, as there is no shortage of work!

The other striking thing about this moment in time is, of course, the fact that the United States feels anything but united. In fact, I’d argue that it is as divided as it was before and during the Civil War of the mid-19th century. We seem to have entered into a new era of civil war, only now it is being fought on social media sites rather than physical battlefields in the southern states. The terminology is similar—battlefields, war chests, attacks, scorched earth, weaponization, casualties and so on. Families are divided about where they stand on the issues, and the future of our country and world. It has become so surreal that it appears we are no longer all living in the same reality. And yet, we all ARE living upon the same and only planet we all call Home.

We are in the midst of an impasse. People are moving ever further to the extremes of polarity and dualism. Unity, oneness, harmony, peace, justice and love are being violently overturned at every opportunity as the forces of separation and power-over-others jostle for the front spot on the world stage. This is occurring against a backdrop of the continuing destruction of our environment and unprecedented weather changes which are portending serious loss of life in the very near future. We are hurtling towards the cliff edge. And once we go over that cliff, the question is before us:  What will happen next?

Today I walked in the peaceful park near my home. In one area were gathered about a hundred crows, having a large council meeting. Crows are such interesting birds. They are unintimidated by humans or most dogs, and their society appears very orderly and cooperative. Crows understand they are one family, all connected, and they cooperate with each other. Certain ones have particular roles, whether to be the guardian, the messenger, the speakers, perhaps the leaders. They never harm one another, rather they work together for their common good and safety. I have read of crows attacking humans or animals if they feel threatened. We have old stories passed down through history that paints crows in a similar light to wolves and other predators. Yet crows are generally peaceful birds, who have their own kind of society. For a fascinating look at crows, watch this video on Vimeo.

Human beings would do well to take some lessons from crow society. We are the only species on Earth that seeks to destroy itself and does not understand that we are one family, part of one another by virtue of the fact that we are all human. We have mastered amazing feats, learned how to do incredible things with our bodies, minds, and will. Yet, we still do not understand that our hearts are connected to all and each on this beloved planet. This is the underlying malady that is harming our species and our entire ecosystem, while seriously endangering our collective future. What will it take for us to finally awaken to the truth of who and what we are? To end the bitter polarity which divides and destroys us?

It is the end of this last year of this decade. In a couple of weeks, 2020 arrives. The start of a new decade, and an energetic reset button for Earth. It is a new opportunity to change for the better, to embrace our unity as humans on our planet and to bring compassion and empathy into our daily lives. My personal affirmation for the new year and new decade is that we all realize the truth of ourselves—we are One, there is no separation, we are a human family and it is time to end the enmity which has divided us for so long. We must cut the cords of deceit that have determined our destiny for far too long. Justice and truth must prevail now.

The Historical Moment that Americans are Ignoring

This week, American impeachment hearings continue into the investigation of President Trump’s questionable dealings with Ukraine’s new president Zelensky. As the investigation committee works to untangle the complex story of what happened, two things are becoming crystal clear—the truth of what occurred is shocking, and there are many Americans who are unable or unwilling to hear, see and take  it within themselves.

On an interview Tuesday night with Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein by Anderson Cooper of CNN, Bernstein spoke of the need for the “best obtainable version of the truth” in relation to the impeachment hearings. I ponder this phrase–best obtainable version of the truth. I agree with Mr. Bernstein, truth in our world is never absolute, and open to interpretation. And yet, what is true is attainable by each of us. In fact, American democracy is dependent upon it. Each witness who is sworn in before testifying repeats the oath: I swear or affirm to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God. It really cannot be any plainer than that.

I listened to the opening statements by the witnesses last week and today, Tuesday the 19th of November. Their words resonated deeply within my heart and mind as truthful. I truly believe that every one of us has the capacity to recognize what is true, as it contains a certain resonance and energy that is universal and common to being human. That being said, the onus is upon each person to have the willingness to hear and feel the truth within. When a person is unwilling and stubbornly clings to an ideology with their mind closed, they will be unable to discern what is true from what is false. Herein lies our current conundrum.

One of the most disturbing aspects of the impeachment process is the extraordinarily damaging vitriol directed at the witnesses who have testified, coming from Trump’s team and from the president himself through his tweets. Of course, none of it is surprising, since it has been their pattern from the very start of this administration to deflect any notion of blame or wrongdoing and fling it back onto whoever may be handiest or a likely target. But in the case of the brave men and women who have come forward to testify of their own volition, I find it extraordinarily wrong to accuse them of giving false or misleading testimony. In particular, the testimony by Marie Yovanovitch, the former United States ambassador to Ukraine, was poignant. As one eloquent writer wrote in a letter to the editor of the New York Times at the end of last week’s hearing,

“This brave and heroic woman has no agenda other than to serve the country she loves. Her clear, straightforward depiction of the abuse and smears she received and the corruption of United States foreign policy and security to serve the political and financial interests of the president and his enablers cannot be ignored or dismissed. Ambassador Yovanovitch deserves a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Instead she is defamed, dismissed and threatened.” NYTimes, November 16, 2019

Another letter stated,
“We Americans had the opportunity last week to hear from three stellar Foreign Service professionals. Their love for this country is unquestionable, and the dignity with which they serve us is admirable. Anyone who has become dispirited by the stark, in-your-face corruption and degradation visited upon us by President Trump and his stable of sycophants would do themselves some good to find and watch videos of the testimony of Marie Yovanovitch, my hero, as well as George Kent and Bill Taylor. They remind me that droves of people of good character and integrity still exist within the realms of government. They give me hope. Any American who is turning his or her attention elsewhere is missing an opportunity to see our democracy in action. May it prevail.” NYTimes, November 19, 2019 

The New York Times reported that Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, appeared in front of the House Intelligence Committee on the third day of public impeachment hearings. His testimony carried a similar tone of loyalty and duty to his country, the United States of America. Here is an excerpt from his statement:

“On July 25, 2019, the call occurred. I listened in on the call in the Situation Room with White House colleagues. I was concerned by the call, what I heard was improper, and I reported my concerns to Mr. Eisenberg. It is improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent. It was also clear that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma, it would be interpreted as a partisan play. This would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing bipartisan support, undermine U.S. national security, and advance Russia’s strategic objectives in the region.

I want to emphasize to the Committee that when I reported my concerns — on July 10, relating to Ambassador Sondland, and on July 25, relating to the President — I did so out of a sense of duty. I privately reported my concerns, in official channels, to the proper authorities in the chain of command. My intent was to raise these concerns because they had significant national security implications for our country. I never thought I would be sitting here testifying in front of this committee and the American public, about my actions. When I reported my concerns, my only thought was to act properly and to carry out duty.

I want to take a moment to recognize the courage of my colleagues who have appeared and are scheduled to appear before this Committee. I want to state that the vile character attacks on these distinguished and honorable public servants is reprehensible. It is natural to disagree and engage in spirited debate, this has been our custom since the time of our Founding Fathers, but we are better than callow and cowardly attacks.

The uniform I wear today is that of the United States Army. The members of our all- volunteer force are made up of a patchwork of people from all ethnicities, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds who come together under a common oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. We do not serve any particular political party, we serve the nation. I am humbled to come before you today as one of many who serve in the most distinguished and able military in the world. The Army is the only profession I have ever known.”

Dear Readers, hearing these, and the other state department officials’ words during these past couple of weeks has brought all the months of the Mueller investigation and impeachment proceedings into clearer focus. I struggle to find strong enough words to describe just how disheartening and simply tragic the state of our country is now. I mean, America is in a state of crisis that is difficult to overstate. We are at the cliff’s edge, right now. For those of us who are keenly interested and listening to the impeachment hearings, we understand the gravity of our situation. This country is facing the very real possibility that the president may be found guilty of high crimes, for which our constitution mandates he be removed from office. If ever there was a moment for Americans to be paying attention, Now is that moment.

 

March’s Vortex

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image via https://allevents.in/california/sunrise-movement-october-training/20005440133178

Hello Interrelated Planet Readers! It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but there has been no lack of impressive happenings in our world. Like some of you, I watched the Cohen testimony on February 27th with a mixture of fascination, revulsion, sorrow and resignation. As one commentator put it, I was shocked at how little I was shocked by his testimony. My favorite part was when Representative Cummings gave his heartfelt and poignant reply to Cohen at the end of the day, reminding us all that “we’re better than this” as a country and as humanity. His words, and sincere energy while speaking, resonated through many of us that day as a voice of our collective conscience. Surely we ARE better than the continuous display of inflated human egoism we’ve been subjected to for the past two years of this administration. My only caveat to Cumming’s rant is his plea to “get back to normal,” to which I reply there is no going backward; there is only moving forward into what many millions of us desperately wish will be a transparent, just and truthful future government.

The youth movement for climate action is continuing globally. Organizers are planning a global Student Strike day on March 15th, to protest their government leaders’ inaction and foot-dragging on reducing and eliminating fossil fuel emissions. Here’s a link to Guardian journalist George Monbiot’s editorial in support of the youth’s movement. https://www.resilience.org/stories/2019-02-20/young-climate-strikers-can-win-their-fight-we-must-all-help/

March is generally a month of unpredictable weather, and so far it hasn’t disappointed. In Colorado where I live, the mountains experienced avalanches over the last weekend, closing I-70 in both directions for several hours. Thankfully, human life was not taken in that situation. Unfortunately, the tornados that tore through the South were not as forgiving, and some folks in Alabama did succumb to their destructive fury. Climate change is a process that’s forcing all of us to confront how we are living through a critical lens, and asking us to make real, sweeping and large scale changes. Resilience and sustainability are becoming terms du jour globally now. No longer can anyone who denies our need for changing how we live on Gaia be taken seriously. The Democrats’ call for a New Green Deal, still being bashed as socialist rubbish by Republicans in Congress, is a rallying cry for a new, and sorely needed national overhaul to how we have been living our collective lives. The time of reckoning is at hand, and it goes beyond any one ideology or political squabbling. Coastlines are being inundated, lands once frozen all winter are now exposed and above freezing, ocean levels are rising, ocean temperatures are rising faster than scientists can keep up, and the lists of environmental changes continue to grow daily. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/04/

Members of the Sunrise Movement met with Senator Diane Feinstein in San Francisco, asking her to support the New Green Deal. Here’s a link to their Facebook posted video of their meeting. https://www.facebook.com/story

The young climate activists are energized, loud, and getting in lawmakers’ faces for a very good reason—their future depends on what countries (and the citizens who comprise them) do to control fossil fuel use now. The Guardian ran an article https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/mar/04/can-they-save-us-meet-the-climate-kids-fighting-to-fix-the-planet which highlighted several of these young (under 21 years) activists. They are smart, awake, and demanding lawmakers to stop their rhetoric and actually take action in the form of regulations and laws to reduce the amount of CO2 being released into Earth’s atmosphere—NOW. Meanwhile, fires, floods, melting, tornados, and all manner of extreme weather events continue unabated on the planet’s surface.

From The Revelator online magazine, comes a list of environmentally-themed books for March mayhem reading. (Spoiler alert: none of them seem especially uplifting.) https://therevelator.org/environmental-books-march-2019/

Perhaps the most heart-tugging article I’ve seen in the past couple of weeks comes via a dog lover’s blog I follow. It is a photo essay of the unlikely friendship between a young brown bear and a wolf in northern Finland. For me it makes the whole idea of a children’s story about animals come alive in a beautiful way!  https://learningfromdogs.com/2019/02/26/this-just-beautiful/

Please leave a comment if any of these links or subjects strike a chord with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts, reactions and feelings about what’s happening in our world now.